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Smart Woman's Metabolism Meter

“Muscle is responsible for metabolism, so the more muscle we have the more
calories we burn.”
Sharon Woodard, M.S.
Exercise Specialist, Wake Forest University

  • Age 20
  • Your metabolism is high and you’ve got strong bones and good flexibility. You’re adding both fat and muscle to your body. If you don’t already exercise regularly, now is the good time to start

  • Age 30
  • Your metabolism starts slowing and the percentage of lean muscle tissue in your body decreases as fat increases. Make sure to exercise regularly; gaining even five to 10 pounds can increase your risk of significant health problems.

  • Age 40
  • Metabolic rate drops about five per cent each decade, so keeping weight off gets harder now. If you stay active you can counteract this natural tendency.
  • Age 50
  • As estrogen levels drop, it’s even easier to gain weight. Connective tissues shorten, which can be counteracted with stretches and flexibility exercises. You need 50 fewer calories per day that you did in your 40’s. Keep exercising!

  • Age 60
  • Weight gains slows (finally!) but carrying extra pounds in the abdominal area is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Exercise can help prevent all of these disorders and control your weight.

  • Age 70
  • You may lose weight as your appetite decreases. A multivitamin or calcium supplement may help counteract the natural loss of muscle strength and bone density. Moderate exercise helps maintain flexibility and improve balance.

    Source “Your Body at 20, 30, 40 , 50 and Beyond,” Newsweek Special Edition, Spring/Summer 1999


    No matter what exercises you do and at what age you do them, your heart rate is a guide to how effectively you’re working. Your goal is to work you heart to 60 to 75 per cent of its maximum capacity. That translates to:

     120 beats - 160 beats per minute at age 20
     114 beats - 152 beats per minute at age 30
     108 beats - 144 beats per minute at age 40
     96 beats - 128 beats per minute at age 60
     90 beats - 120 beats per minute at age 70

    For more information, contact:
    American College of Sports Medicine
    P.O. Bo 1440
    Indianapolis, IN 46202-3233
    website at

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